As your real estate agent, I’m sure you are familiar with the term listing service (or MLS). An MLS is a database that aggregates all of the individual property listings for a specific area or market. This way, if someone wants to search for homes in their target area, they can find it all in one place!
Some examples of popular listing services include Zillow Listings, Realtor.com, Redfin, and many others. The best MLS programs have a large network cover most or even all areas of the country, as well as tools to make searching easy. They also offer powerful software that allows users to manage their account, add agents, and upload photos and documents easily.
There are some who claim that having an MLS is unnecessary because anyone with a smartphone has access to at least one listing service. While this may be true, it misses the point! Having an active membership in an MLS makes it easier for buyers and sellers to compare properties side-by-side and finds results faster.
That’s why it’s important to advertise your affiliation with an MLS. Also, many people believe that owning an expensive phone with top of the line features automatically entitles you to use the listing service app for free, but this isn’t always the case. Some companies will ask for a monthly subscription fee either directly through the app or via another channel like Google Ads or Facebook.
Who uses the MLS system?
As mentioned before, most real estate agents have access to the Multiple Listing Service (or MLS for short). This is an industry standard database that contains all of the listing information for every property in the country with a license as a real estate agent!
The MLS was designed to be accessible to anyone, which is one of its strongest features. Anyone can add a house list or take away a house list, making it more level playing fields for both sellers and buyers.
There are some restrictions to using the MLS, such as not being able to remove or add houses that are listed by another broker, but beyond these there are very few rules. And even if you are not allowed to modify someone else’s properties, you can easily find other listings online or through direct contact with the seller.
What does it mean?
As discussed in length above, the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a database that real estate agents have access to. This means that they can view listing information for homes throughout the market, as well as find out what other listings are like yours.
Agents use this data to help determine if a home is a good investment or not, and whether it’s worth their time to visit a house or not. They also use the data to promote their own properties!
By having access to the MLS, your agent will probably do some type of advertising on it. Sometimes it’s direct ads, sometimes it’s by creating an account with one of the site vendors, and then using that to advertise, etc. — so make sure you understand how each system works before criticizing theirs.
There is no reason for agents to go without access to the MLS unless they don’t want to spend money to sell their property or aren’t willing to invest the time into getting the best possible results while doing so.
Do real estate agents have access to the MLS system?
As stated before, not all areas offer an MLS service or even if they do, it is with your specific agent only. This can be tricky as some agents claim theirs is the best and most powerful!
Some agents are very familiar with the MLS and how well it works for their business, but that does not necessarily mean their competitors’ systems work the same way.
It could also mean that their own software is more advanced, thus giving them an edge over others who cannot use this tool effectively.
In fact, there are many different types of MLS services out there! Some are free while others cost money so you will want to make sure you know what type of coverage each one has before deciding which one is right for you.
There are also times when people try to create their own MLS accounts which is definitely not recommended as it may negatively affect your business.
What are the differences between states and cities?
States have different levels of access to real estate listing information, as do some individual agents in a state versus others. Some require that you be an agent or a member of their association to see all listings, while others are more open.
Some states only allow you to view active listings, whereas other states also have closed (or expired) property lists that can be viewed. There is no standard national database like the MLS we talk about so frequently here.
There is nothing stopping individuals from creating their own proprietary databases with all types of housing data, but it takes time and effort to do this, which may not be something most people have at this stage of their lives.
That’s why there are some services that pull together various sources of residential home inventory data for us all.
When should I use the MLS system?
Having access to the Multiple Listing Service (or MLS) is not only important for real estate agents, but also for you as a home buyer or seller!
The MLS was created back in 1995 to help make the real estate industry more efficient by creating an interactive database that contains all of the properties for sale or for rent anywhere across Canada.
Since then, it has grown quite a bit – today, most Realty Companies have their own version of the MLS that they make available to other members of the organization. This way, each agent gets access to the same information about every property in the area which helps ensure that everyone’s needs are being met.
However, just because someone else has access to the MLS doesn’t mean that they know how to put the information to good use. For this reason, many Realtors don’t take advantage of the service fully.
There can be several reasons why some people choose not to use the MLS, but one of the biggest factors is whether or not the Agent has access to the very tool that allows them to do their job effectively.
What should I look for when choosing to use or not use the MLS system?
An easy way to determine if an agent has access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is by looking at whether they are given this information as a requirement of being a licensed real estate professional in your state.
Most states require that every listing agent have access to the MLS, which means they must be able to search all properties within it. This comes with another requirement however – agents need to know how to properly use the MLS.
If you find that someone does not seem to understand what things mean in the MLS, there may be reason to question their ability to represent you as a seller or buyer. You want to make sure that you are protected from misrepresentation, so do some research and see if these people have ever been disciplined by the licensing board for bad practices.
What are the different types of MLS systems?
As mentioned before, not every real estate agent has access to listing information for your home through an MLS. Some have limited access, while others have full access that includes all listings in their region.
Some agents have “roster” access which means they can see some parts of the system, but not all of it. They may only be able to search one source at a time or there could be restrictions on how many sources they can use during business hours.
Full-access agents usually pay a monthly or yearly fee per property (or both) to obtain complete access. This is very expensive if you think about it – just like having a professional photographer take pictures of your house!
Another option is being a part of the public domain where anyone can contribute data to create their own MLS. These freeMLS sites allow you to upload properties and other details such as photos and descriptions yourself so that everyone can get a good idea of what homes look like in the area and go up against yours in price.
What are the different levels of MLS systems?
Having access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is not the same for every real estate agent. Some have full access, while others do not!
Some agents have ‘full access’ which gives them all of the features available in the system such as being able to upload documents, add notes to properties, and even check off items that represent done tasks.
These agents also have complete access to the listing details page where they can edit any part of the property’s description or photo. They can also change the price and whether or not it is sold in-contract.
However, some agents only have limited access to certain parts of the website. For example, they may be allowed to see listings that are similar to their own, but they will not be given permission to search for new listings or look at more detailed information about other properties.
This is totally fine because most people who buy or sell a house use the internet to find homes and compare prices and properties so having this limited access does not matter much.